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  • Fishermen protest Japanese proposal to change Diaoyutai’s name

    Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) Yilan County fishermen expressed their disapproval on Friday of a Japanese politician’s intention to include the word "Senkaku" in the official name of the disputed East China Sea islands known as the Diaoyutais in Taiwan and Senkakus in Japan.

    According to the Japan Times, the mayor of the city of Ishigaki, which has administrative control over the Diaoyutais, wants to change their official name from "Tonoshiro, Ishigaki City" to "Tonoshiro Senkaku, Ishigaki City."

    The mayor, Yoshitaka Nakayama, will submit the proposal to the city assembly during its regular session this month, and it is likely to be approved, the newspaper reported.

    The move is seen as a bid to reinforce Japan’s sovereignty over the islands, which are claimed by both Taiwan and China.

    Fishermen from Suao Township in Yilan County were upset by the news, with many heading to the local township office Friday morning to bring up the issue.

    According to Suao Fishermen’s Association chief Chen Chun-shen (陳春生), the proposed strategic change of the name would seriously hurt the friendship between Suao Township and Ishigaki.

    The two have a 22-year friendship that encompasses many official exchanges, especially in fishing.

    Chen told reporters that Japan and Taiwan had shelved the contentious issue in recent years to focus on the sharing of fishing resources, but he said the move by Ishigaki could seriously jeopardize that.

    Suao mayor Chen Chin-lin (陳金麟) said the Diaoyutais belong to the Republic of China (Taiwan), with Yilan’s Toucheng Township holding administrative jurisdiction over them, and that any attempt by another country to infringe upon Taiwan’s claims will not be allowed.

    The Suao Township Office will send an official letter to Ishigaki authorities expresssing its concern and disapproval, and Chen is also hoping the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can voice the concerns of people in Suao to the Japanese government.

    (By Worthy Shen and Kuan-lin Liu)